14 October 2021


SUNDERLAND’s leading financial institutions are joining forces and providing advice and support in a special event next week (18-22 October) to ensure people don’t get scammed this festive season.

Christmas is renowned as a time of year when there is a spike in fraud cases and the hope is that by providing local people with details of the latest scams, they will stay alert and not find themselves a victim.

The initiative -which coincides with International Fraud Awareness Week which runs from 14-20 October - will see representatives from both Barclays and Nationwide taking over a unit at the Bridges on Monday, Wednesday and Friday next week from 9am to 4pm, where shoppers can pop in and get advice – regardless of who they
bank with.

Jonny Lewis of Barclays believes this is a really important initiative and can help people at what is already an expensive time of year.

“Through the pandemic it has been really difficult doing what we do best and enjoy the most and that’s supporting our customers outside of our branches and within our communities,” he said.

“This week is the first chance we can support more of our customers protecting what matters the most to them. Frauds and scams are on the increase and with the run up to Christmas in sight, fraudsters are always on the lookout for an opportunity.

“Prevention over cure is what we are looking to achieve here and support customers to become more vigilant and aware of the latest frauds and scams so they are less likely to be susceptible to a fraud or scam in the future.

“What I like most about this week is the collaboration, with other high street banks and building societies coming together to support customers when they need us the most. No matter who the customer’s bank of choice is we are ready to help.”

Sharon Appleby, Chief Executive of Sunderland BID which is supporting the initiative is hoping that people will take advantage of the opportunity.

“It’s fantastic to see the city’s banks and building societies coming together to work on something as important as this,” she said.

“It’s a really important initiative and by coming together to drive these messages
home it will have a far bigger impact.

“Scams are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and it can be so easy for people to be taken in by something that seems genuine and then find they may have lost a huge amount of money.

“A quick chat with someone who is aware of what fraudsters might be up to this Christmas can save someone a massive amount of misery.”

The sessions are being held in Unit 71 at the Bridges, opposite River Island.

Karen Eve, Centre Director at the Bridges, which is providing the space, also praised the initiative.

“We are delighted to be able to support this important event and raise awareness with shoppers about how to protect themselves from fraud,” she said.